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    Towards a Late Modernist Theater

    Arrington, Lauren (2021) Towards a Late Modernist Theater. Modernism/Modernity Print Plus, 5 (4). ISSN 1071-6068

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    Joan Didion begins her 1968 collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem with W. B. Yeats’s “The Second Coming” printed in full as an epigraph; the title and the long quotation underscore Didion’s perception of the rupture of the 1960s: a revolution—sexual and political—of which she was skeptical. As she explains in her preface, she “had been paralyzed by the conviction that writing was an irrelevant act, that the world as I had understood it no longer existed.”[2] Later in the same book, in the essay “On Morality” she argues that the “ethic of conscience” as a measure of a writer or anyone else’s morality was an “insidious” metric; neither the individual’s intention nor—as will be discussed in this essay—the form of the work conferred “any ipso facto virtue.” Scholars of modernism have not been so careful. In what may be a reaction to John Carey’s still-influential castigation of canonical “high modernists” in his 1992 book, The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880–1939, over the last two decades, scholars have delineated a new configuration, late modernism, which has been defined increasingly as an ethically virtuous aesthetic.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Cite as: Arrington, L. 2021, "Towards a Late Modernist Theater", Modernism/Modernity Print Plus, vol. 5, no. 4.
    Keywords: theater; late modernism;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 17611
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Lauren Arrington
    Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2023 09:27
    Journal or Publication Title: Modernism/Modernity Print Plus
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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